January 11, 2012
Approx 18 minute film
USAF film about the Fifteenth Air Force
Lt Gen James P. Mullins introduces the film. Then early air bombers are shown from WWI - pilots dropping bombs by hand from rudimentary planes. There is footage of the initial 1918 bomber force. Footage of WWI aircraft and early bomb sights.
Post-WWI footage includes Billy Mitchell and his bombing tests, including ships sinking. Then footage of 1930s-era bombers is shown, including the B-10 and B-17.
WWII and the air war in Europe brought the use of the bomber to the forefront. With the B-17 and B-24 aircraft the first long-range bombing was underway. And the 15th Air Force was created. Footage of 1943 bomber teams and of General James H. Doolittle. Bombing raid footage, including shots inside bombers.
Post WWII - 15th Air Force becomes part of the Strategic Air Command and the B-29 became the dominant bomber. Then in 1951 the B-36 bomber was added to the arsenal, the last piston-engine bomber. During this time, air-refueling became more popular. Footage of historical pre-WWII aerial refueling. In 1949 the Lucky Lady II B-50a completed the 1st non-stop around the world flight, thanks to aerial refueling from KB-29m tankers. Footage of refueling operations. During Korea the 15th Air Force participated in long-range bombing with B-29s. Footage of bombing operations. During this time, SAC was converting to all-jet bomber aircraft.
In 1955 the first 15th AF B-52 arrived and the KC-135 soon after. Footage of B-52 in flight. In 1957 air-refueled B-52s flew arround the world non-stop.
24/7 ground alert enhanced readiness demands. The Cuban missile crisis placed SAC on expanded alert. In the mid-60s the Stratofortress had a stand-off range of over 500 miles.
In 1965 the 320th bomb wing deployed to Guam and Okinawa and bomb strikes in Southeast Asia began. Operation Young Tiger. By war's climax most B-52d were in the area. In the final stages Hanoi was bombed but B-52s suffered heavy Soviet missile damage.
By the late 1970 tanker refueling support expanded to other aircraft like the C-5. In the late 80s many B-52D aircraft were refurbished. And some B-52s were equipped with SAM missiles.